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The Life & Times of the Thunderbolt Kid Audiobook

The Life & Times of the Thunderbolt Kid

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Publisher's Summary

Bill Bryson's hilarious memoir of growing up in middle America in the Fifties, complete, unabridged, and read by the author.

Born in 1951 in the middle of the United States, Des Moines, Iowa, Bill Bryson is perfectly positioned to mine his memories of a totally all-American childhood for 24 carat memoir gold. Like millions of his generation, Bill Bryson grew up with a rich fantasy life as a superhero. In his case, he ran around the house wearing a jersey with a thunderbolt on it and a towel round his neck that served as his cape, leaping tall buildings in a single bound and vanquishing evildoers (in his head) as The Thunderbolt Kid.

Using his old fantasy life as a springboard, Bill Bryson recreates the life of his family in the 1950s in all its transcendent normality. In a period that saw the inexorable rise of television, the opening of Disneyland, the testing of the atomic bomb, and the explosion of choice in everything from food to cars, Bill Bryson's days followed in reassuringly cosy succession, enlivened by modest triumphs and disasters.

Warm and laugh-out-loud funny, The Thunderbolt Kid is full of Bill Bryson's inimitable, pitch-perfect observations and this unabridged recording contains every single amusing anecdote and amazing fact. Nothing is left out, so you can enjoy the whole book in its entirety, read by Bill Bryson himself.

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What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (224 )
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4.3 (120 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Robyn 12-05-11
    Robyn 12-05-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Delightful and entertaining"

    I enjoyed this very much, chuckled all the way through and was almost sorry when it finished. It was a bonus having the author read his own work. Thank you for sharing your childhood adventures with your reading public!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Greg Dublin, Ireland 11-29-11
    Greg Dublin, Ireland 11-29-11
    ratings
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    1
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    Story
    "A pleasure"
    What made the experience of listening to The Life & Times of the Thunderbolt Kid the most enjoyable?

    Not been American


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The father, proving fathers are the same world wide


    What about Bill Bryson’s performance did you like?

    from the horse's mouth


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No, styled that one could dip and out, therefore, prolonging the pleasure


    Any additional comments?

    Marvelous insight into growing up in small town America in the 50/60's

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rajesh Johanneburg, South Africa 12-12-11
    Rajesh Johanneburg, South Africa 12-12-11 Member Since 2016

    Legal Thrillers, crime, fiction. humor and a bit of management sprinkled with some self improvement. All through Audible.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    270
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    72
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    "Only Americans Please"

    If it is funny, it is only for the American. It is not like his earlier books. Not a classic global book which everyone can enjoy.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Leslie Grey McCawley 01-16-07 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Too many icky bits"

    I have enjoyed Bryson's other books but this one is an in-your-face reminder of how actually disgusting little boys can be - his loving and graphic descriptions of the things boys get up to had me almost sick; I had to stop listening. Some listeners may delight in remembering the sheer ickiness of childhood experience, but I didn't.

    1 of 5 people found this review helpful
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  • B
    9/28/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Bryson,as always is fantastic"

    Growing up a decade later and in England not America my childhood memories differ in detail. However, many of the feelings are just the same. The sense of freedom, of life spread out endlessly in front of you. Long hot summer holidays (weren't they always hot when we were children?) parents who seemed not to worry too much. I often think my own children have missed out on those moments of freedom and exploration that we enjoyed as I watch them tirelessly twiddling on their game controllers. As always Bill Bryson weaves his wonderful wit and observations of life into his books and I for one enjoy them all the more when read by the author.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Birdie
    United Kingdom
    9/27/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The best."

    Riveting and so damned funny you'll probably throw up coffee through your nose. Buy it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Rosemary White
    9/23/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Delightful "

    I have listened to a few of Bill Bryson's brilliantly written fictions but this is different. It is autobiographical. It is never dry or tedious, quite the opposite in fact. He has a charming, gentle wit which shines through and I found I was smiling the whole time.
    Not all authors are good narrators, of their own or other's books but Bill has a wonderful style, a beautiful, easy to listen to voice, perfectly pitched and interesting. He has a marvellous memory and the gift of evoking images that come alive in your mind. This is true of all his writing I have experienced so far. I have never been to America although I grew up through the same years in England. He brought those years back to me despite the different environments with the added seasoning of colourful characters, insightful comments and the red and green cellophane glasses that made 3D comic books so exciting. I am sure many will enjoy hearing about the Tnunderbolt Kid's early years. Thank you Bill, your book is a delight and is treasured by me, at least.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Jim Crossan
    9/19/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Superb Childhood Memories"

    Great collection of memories from the 1950's. Superbly narrated by the author him self... Enjoyable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. Elbow
    Romford, UK
    9/14/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great, easy, funny, listen."

    Being a long time fan of Mr Bryson, this book coming up on the audible daily deal was a great opportunity for me. A candid and open look at Bills childhood with the advantage of hearing it in his own words and after his life has allowed him to look back and try to make sense of it all. Laugh out loud funny at times, it's a great addition to anyone's car journey, especially mine as being at a standstill in traffic for 5 hours passed incredibly fast. My only warning would be people stare when they see you laughing to yourself...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Philip
    9/6/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Witty and engaging!"

    A marvelous trip down memory lane with Bryson. He blends historical anecdote with childhood reminiscence to very good effect, creating a warm feelgood picture of 1950s Americana. I enjoyed this. His self narration is a little flat in places, but this is made up for by the warmth and fluidity of the writing. Well worth the effort!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • J. Butler
    UK
    9/1/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Enjoyed it"

    A sometimes funny and somewhat sad journey through Bryan's childhood in mid-America in the 1950/60s.
    As always it's well written and full of interesting facts. There are a couple of laugh out load moments, but some very sad moments where Bryson reminisces over what has been lost with passing time.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • J. Stephens
    London, UK
    8/17/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "everything about this book is excellent"

    fascinating, engaging, compelling, and funny too. I must have listened to this at least a dozen times.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mrsmcnair
    Scotland
    6/26/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The times I wish I lived in"

    Bill Bryson at his best. This was made better for me by the fact that it was narrated by Bill himself, although going off other reviews I realise he's not to everyone's taste. This is a happy, funny, comfort blanket of a book, telling of a time when it was so fortunate to be a child. You genuinely will laugh out loud at some of Bill and his gang's exploits, and the Thunderbolt Kid can't fail to brighten your day. Five stars, Bill.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mark
    5/30/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "'50s in Full Colour"

    A humorous and entertaining voyage: growing up in prosperous, post-war, middle America. With all its attendant wonders and disturbing normalcy.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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